Toughie 1494

Toughie No 1494 by Kcit

Hints and Tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

This is a pleasant puzzle with no obscurities and a few d’oh moments.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought. You can also add your assessment by selecting from one to five stars at the bottom of the post.

Across Clues

1a What’s wanted is read about — backed being restrained about that (11)
DESIDERATUM – an anagram (about) of IS READ with an adjective meaning restrained or toned down reversed around it.

7a Second-rate performer: a computer network endlessly troubled internally (4-3)
ALSO-RAN – A and the acronym for a local area network contain an adjective meaning troubled or peeved without its last letter.

8a Pepper soft food, having recalled broadcast about opening of kitchen (7)
PAPRIKA – food suitable for babies or invalids is followed by a verb to broadcast reversed around the first letter of kitchen.

10a When tucking into tripe conjures up meat dish (5)
ROAST – insert a conjunction meaning when into tripe or rubbish. ‘Conjures up’ are just linking words.

11a Form of eroticism in exercising muscles (9)
ISOMETRIC – an anagram (form) of EROTICISM.

12a Little chance  for this planet? (7)
EARTHLY – double definition, the first an informal noun meaning little or no chance.

14a Prison denying one cut in sentence (7)
STRETCH – start with a slang word for prison and take away the Roman numeral for one. Now add a verb to cut or carve.

15a Girl hanging round attractive drifters? (7)
MISFITS – a girl’s title contains an informal adjective meaning attractive or sexually desirable. I’m not sure that drifters means the same as the answer so I take the presence of the question-mark to mean that it’s a definition by example.

18a When swapping ends, is fastening bag (7)
SATCHEL – swap the outer letters of the answer and you get a verb meaning ‘is fastening’.

20a Wound on your leg? This discipline offers little for that (9)
NEUROLOGY – an anagram (wound) of ON YOUR LEG.

21a Religious leader runs into religious men (5)
PRIOR – insert the cricket abbreviation for runs into an informal adjective meaning sanctimoniously religious and the abbreviation for men in the services.

22a History’s teaching this writer about the French seductress (7)
LORELEI – start with a word for history’s teaching or knowledge passed down through the generations and add a personal pronoun (this writer). Finally insert a French definite article.

23a Couple, tense and sad, lacking energy in the first place (7)
TWOSOME – the abbreviation for tense (the grammatical sort) is followed by an unusual adjective meaning sad or wretched without its first E(nergy).

24a Look on board to collect yonder pieces (11)
SMITHEREENS – the usual abbreviation for ship contains a look or manner and inside that we have to put a synonym for yonder.

Down Clues

1d Dejection shown by the old man beset by endless longing (7)
DESPAIR – an affectionate term for ‘the old man’ or father is surrounded by a word meaning longing without its final letter.

2d Naval coverings upended revealing fish (5)
SPRAT – reverse the shortened form of a word formerly used to mean sailors’ waterproof hats.

3d Refuse to accept position? That shows foolishness (7)
DENSITY – a verb to refuse or reject contains a verb to position or place.

4d Avian predators take a dim view of hills (7)
RAPTORS – charade of a verb to take a dim view of or censure and rocky hills.

5d Like 007’s work to the destruction of SPECTRE (3-6)
TOP-SECRET – a very topical clue. TO is followed by an anagram (the destruction) of SPECTRE.

6d Colleagues upset about independent gross detective (7)
MAIGRET – reverse (upset) sporting colleagues and insert abbreviations for independent and gross.

7d Mail-train travelling round about revolutionary transport hub (3,8)
AIR TERMINAL – an anagram (travelling) of MAIL-TRAIN goes round the reversal (revolutionary) of a preposition meaning about or concerning.

9d Ruin of local here — with such beer? (7-4)
ALCOHOL-FREE – this is a semi-all-in-one. We need an anagram (ruin) of OF LOCAL HERE.

13d I vote in local area mostly, I and the people (3,6)
HOI POLLOI – insert I and a vote inside an informal US term for a local area (normally one in a city) without its final D (mostly). Finish with another I.

16d Conservatives? One of them’s here (7)
SQUARES – I presume that the one that’s here is the whole grid although the clue could have referenced the four black ones in its corners. Thanks to Lesley for pointing out what I should have seen – ‘here’ refers to the clue number, i.e. 16.

17d Endless hard work? Desire to be not very busy (7)
SLOWISH – a spell of strenuous work without its final letter is followed by a desire.

18d Cowboy‘s attempt on bullock lacking heart (7)
SHYSTER – an attempt or shot precedes a young bullock without its middle letter.

19d Despicable ambassador to America, securing nothing (7)
HEINOUS – the abbreviated title for an ambassador and a phrase meaning ‘living stateside’ contain the letter that resembles zero.

21d First priest as subject? (5)
PRONE – cryptically when split 2,3 the answer could mean the first priest. Subject here is an adjective meaning liable or susceptible.

The top clues for me were 14a and 18d. Which one(s) made your shortlist?


  1. Markb
    Posted November 4, 2015 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

    ****/*** today. Thanks to setter and particularly solver for providing the hints for the last pair of clues which I could not do, despite much head scratching. 21 ac&d.
    Thanks again

  2. Hanni
    Posted November 4, 2015 at 2:14 pm | Permalink


    What a clever boy Kcit is. Thought 5d was magnificently done, top clue. In fact really quite liked the whole thing. Like Gazza says, no obscenities and fairly clued. 11 and 14a get bronze and silver.

    Many thanks to Kcit and to Gazza for blogging. Always a good read. I wondered about the question mark in 15a too.

    • dutch
      Posted November 4, 2015 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

      and no obscurities either…

      • Hanni
        Posted November 4, 2015 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

        Yep…obscure and obscenity free. Oh God. I typed that on my phone in between playing telephone tag with someone. Auto-correct must have changed it.

        Are you and Dean still playing tonight or am I off on my days?

        • dutch
          Posted November 4, 2015 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

          Thursday night

          • Hanni
            Posted November 4, 2015 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

            Thought I might be out on my days.

    • Miffypops
      Posted November 4, 2015 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

      5d is my only one in.

      • Hanni
        Posted November 4, 2015 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

        Not really sure what to suggest? Maybe have a pint and listen to some music. I hear Bob Dylan might be worth a go.

  3. Jane
    Posted November 4, 2015 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

    Going to have to leave this one for a while – hectic afternoon/evening coming up. However – much enjoying it thus far. Will report back later.

    • Jane
      Posted November 4, 2015 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

      Just enough time to finish this off in between outings and – yes – it continued to be good fun. Fortunately I’d remembered the waterproof hats but, yet again, forgot the local area network thing!
      Hesitated over 16d although it had to be what it was and, to be honest, I didn’t care much for 21d.
      Other than those, I thought this was excellent – my podium list would be 12,18&22a.

      Thanks to Kcit and to Gazza for his hard work on the review.
      By the way, Gazza – I haven’t seen your name on the party list as yet – I do so hope you’re going to be there.

      • Gazza
        Posted November 4, 2015 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

        I do intend to be at the January bash.

        • Jane
          Posted November 4, 2015 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

  4. jean-luc cheval
    Posted November 4, 2015 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

    Last ones in were 15a, 16d.

    Had the same reservations as Gazza but not only it fitted but also made some kind of sense.
    It was strange to see 1d and 2d as we saw them yesterday in the back page and toughie respectively.
    Favourite is 18a.
    Thanks to Kcit and to Gazza for the review.

    • Expat Chris
      Posted November 4, 2015 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

      1D is also 1D in today’s Quickie!

      • Kitty
        Posted November 4, 2015 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

        Yes, 1d seems to be the word of the moment.

    • Lesley
      Posted November 5, 2015 at 7:08 am | Permalink

      Have just looked at yesterdays comments and tips. I loved 16d because 16 is a square number! Prefer this to Gazza reasoning.

      • Gazza
        Posted November 5, 2015 at 8:22 am | Permalink

        So do I – thanks Lesley. I’ve updated the blog.

  5. dutch
    Posted November 4, 2015 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    My favourite was 9d, the ruin of local. I did also like the 007, as well as 22a (history’s teaching about the seductress) and 24d (look on board to collect yonder pieces).

    I had cowboy=tryster for 18d, having learned that tryst can also mean a cattle-fair(!) so with try=attempt plus st(e)er it seemed a cert – but it got me into trouble with the bag.

    I liked working prison into the clue at 14a, and i quite liked the construction for first priest, which took me a while and was my last one in.

    Many thanks Gazza and Kcit

  6. Lesley
    Posted November 4, 2015 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

    Good fun. Fitted answer to 14a but was looking for German prison! Thanks for hint. Oh doh! Obvious answer to 2d but didn’t know the definition – I trust the hint although my ancient dictionary doesn’t. Absolutely loved 16d. Had fun getting the answers from letter patterns and then having to justify. 13d good too. Thanks guys.

  7. Expat Chris
    Posted November 4, 2015 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

    I liked this a lot, despite the fact that I had prole for 21D (worked for me!). I don’t think I’ve ever heard of 3D as meaning foolishness, though. Favorites are 9D and 16D. Thanks Kcit and Gazza.

    I wonder if the question mark in 15A is a reference to Ms. Monroe’s last movie?

    • Gazza
      Posted November 4, 2015 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

      The clue did make me think of The Misfits, but I didn’t think I could justify a picture of Marilyn.

      • Expat Chris
        Posted November 4, 2015 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

        One can always justify a picture of the beautiful Marilyn!

  8. Shropshirelad
    Posted November 4, 2015 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

    Excellent stuff! Far too many good clues to pick out just one – OK, I lied, 5d takes the podium (very current)

    Thanks to Kcit for a really good puzzle and Gazza for the blog.

    • Hanni
      Posted November 4, 2015 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

      Brilliant clue.

  9. KiwiColin
    Posted November 4, 2015 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

    I ended up with a letter wrong in 21d. I had PROLE as my answer. Justified it with subject as the definition, first priest being P and role = as. (As in Laurence Olivier as Hamlet). It almost seemed to work. I see that Expat Chris went down the same path. Apart from that I did manage to get the rest sorted but not a quick solve by any means. Lots of good stuff.
    Thanks Kcit and Gazza.

  10. Gazza
    Posted November 4, 2015 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

    It’s Shamus tomorrow.

  11. Una
    Posted November 4, 2015 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

    I didn’t manage more than about 13 or 14 clues on my own, so a big thank you to Gazza for all the nudges.My favourite is 13d.
    With thanks also to Kcit.

  12. Salty Dog
    Posted November 4, 2015 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

    Getting stiffer, as is proper as the week goes on. I make this about 3*/3*, and the only problem l had was with 21d ( it isn’t hard, but l just didn’t make the connection between “subject” and “prone”. My favourite was 18d. VMTs to Kcit, and to Gazza for the review.

    • Miffypops
      Posted November 4, 2015 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

      What on earth are you talking about? Its all sex mad in toughieland

      • Hanni
        Posted November 4, 2015 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

        Not really. Yesterday was worse. Although there is a mention of eroticism and a seductress.

  13. Kath
    Posted November 4, 2015 at 10:41 pm | Permalink

    I made a bit of pig’s ear of this one and ended up with about 3/4 done before giving in so thanks to gazza for sorting out the rest of it.
    I would never have got most of the ones that I didn’t get so not going to beat myself up about it – just treated the ones that I couldn’t do as a “training exercise!” I do at least know when I’m beaten.
    My favourite was 9d.
    With thanks to Kcit and to gazza for untangling the mess that I made of most of this one.

  14. Tstrummer
    Posted November 5, 2015 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    Worked through this one after the radio this morning. Good fun, some splendid clues, some rather dodgy ones, IMHO. Loved 16 & 18d, hated 21d. Thanks to Kcit and Gazza 2*/3*